The history of food originated when early man discovered the use of fire and learned to smoke, to roast or boil in was full of embers meat from animals that had hunted. Since then began also to collect rodents and molluscs, to shoot down birds, to fish, to make various edible plant species growing wild.
Several millennia later discovered agriculture and cattle breeding. So his diet was enriched early cereal and a nutritious drink and refreshing as milk. He learned how to preserve meat of wild pigs using salt, to preserve from corruption cereals that had taken from the ground, to get from the first milk cheeses. Even a millennium and cereals will add the fruit and garden produce (vegetables, chickpeas, beans etc.). Of this period so remote there are no written records. It is the sole task of palethnology study the presence and activity of man in prehistoric times.
The investigation to track down the origins of what, at least in its basic products, it is still part of our diet, therefore, only the V-IV millennium BC, with the written and figurative ancient Egypt, documenting foods grown and consumed , baking bread, brewing, growing grapes. Especially its irrigation techniques and its contribution to grain production in the ancient world, has gained an important image of the Egyptian civilization, that inspired successive civilizations, image that remains, however, not confined to ancient times, but it still represents for the Western world a model of human activity in harmony with nature.
More or less the same time, or perhaps a little later, the Babylonians also made in the food the same achievements. It even seems that they were the first to elaborate dishes with sauces based on olive oil, herbs and spices and compose menu for banquets and succulent feasts where the wine flowed freely. They were always to adopt the use of eating lying, use of which Egypt immediately seized and later Greece also welcome and will transmit to the Romans.
Much of the food that today appear on our tables were thus probably already known from these ancient civilizations.
For our assumption was however interesting to see how even in Italy, that in that same period was still far from having reached levels comparable to those just mentioned, were already cultivated cereals such as barley, spelled, spelled etc. , the same ones that today appear in our soups, and they used the same systems and cooking utensils used quite similar. The archaeological excavations carried out in mountainous areas of central Italy, especially in Tuscany, Umbria and Abruzzo, there were exhibits on the kitchen of the ancient inhabitants dating back more or less to that period. Above all the research done on the Etruscans allowed to seize the moments original food and agricultural organization of peninsular.
They also allowed to follow its development until such time as it joined with the Roman civilization which, as we shall see, has left traces in turn not indifferent in the modern culinary culture, that more and more is revealed heir to the ancient tradition also from the food.